Prominent Alaskan businessman Barney Gottstein dead at 92

Published: Oct. 21, 2018 at 1:40 PM AKDT
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Prominent Jewish businessman and philanthropist Barney Gottstein has died at the age of 92. Family say Gottstein passed away peacefully in Anchorage shortly after midnight Sunday.

Gottstein was perhaps best known in Alaska for owning and operating grocery stores across the state and the decades-long partnership he developed with Larry Carr.

Family write that Gottstein was born in Iowa in 1925 to Jake and Anna Gottstein who had come to Anchorage in 1915 to sell cigars and confections for the Alaska Railroad. A wholesale grocery and dry goods company, J.B. Gottstein and Co., was then formed.

The younger Gottstein enlisted in the Army Air Corps during World War II and trained to be a pilot before the war ended. He then attended the University of Washington, studying to become an aeronautical engineer.

Family say that Gottstein was told that a Jew would not be hired by any airplane manufacturer prompting him to change his studies to business administration and economics. After graduating, Gottstein started managing his father’s grocery business, expanding it across Alaska,

In the 1960s, Gottstein formed a partnership with Larry Carr, opening Carrs supermarkets across southcentral Alaska. According to the Carrs' website, the business grew to become the state’s largest retail chain with 28 locations across Alaska

Carr and Gottstein expanded their partnership into real estate becoming the largest Alaska-owned business in the state in the 1980s before selling their stake in the grocery business to Safeway in the 1990s.

Although prominent as a businessman, family also say he will be remembered as a philanthropist who supported education in Alaska and various causes in Israel. Gottstein was also a lifelong Democrat and a former chairman of the Democratic Party of Alaska.

Gottstein is survived by his wife Rachel, his seven children, 16 grandchildren and his seven great-grandchildren.

A service will be held at 1:00 pm Monday, October 22nd, at Congregation Beth Sholom, 7525 E. Northern Lights Blvd, followed by a burial service in the Anchorage Cemetery. The family requests those attending the funeral and/or Shiva to refrain from using perfumed products. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Barney's honor to the Alaska Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, 3903 Taft Drive, Anchorage, AK 99517 or The Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel, 3 Ha'melakha St., P.O.B. 7197, Tel Aviv, Israel 6721503.